Water Heater Energy Saving Tips …Did you know that your water heater uses 14-18% of your energy dollars? Over a year’s period of time, this cost the average home owner between $400 to $600 dollars a year. Unlike the top energy expense, your furnace, you can control with your thermostat, your water heater consumes energy while you sleep. As you hot water sits, it cools down. When the water cools, the burner or heating element starts warms the water in a constant repeating cycle.
What Can You Do to Save Water Heater Energy Costs?
What can you do to save on the energy costs coming from your water heater? Here are five water heater saving tips from Household Logic.
Water Heater Energy Saving Tips
#1: Turn Down the Tank’s Thermostat
For every 10 degrees you turn it down, you’ll save 3% to 5% on your bill. Most water heaters come preset at 140 degrees. The Energy Department recommends most households lower it to 120 degrees. That’s high enough for your needs, and high enough to reduce mineral buildup in your tank and pipes.
#2: Use Less Hot Water
One good way to cut hot water energy costs is to use less hot water. A family of four showering five minutes a day uses 700 gallons of water each week. This amount is the same as a three-year supply of drinking water for one person!
Simply by installing low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators ($10 to $20 each), you’ll cut your hot water consumption by 25% to 60%. Plus, you’ll save on your water bill. The family of four using low-flow fixtures can save 14,000 gallons of water a year.
You can also use the “economy” setting on your dishwasher which does not do a pre-wash cycle. Modern dishwashers can handle a dirty dish. Scrape what’s left of dinner into the trash or compost bin.
#3: Drain the Sediment
Tanks naturally build up sediment, which reduces efficiency and makes saving energy a challenge. Draining the tank will keep it running efficiently. And it’s really easy to do:
- Turn off the water and power to the unit. On a gas unit, set the burner to “pilot.”
- Connect a garden hose to the spigot at the base of the tank.
- With the other end of the hose pointed at your floor drain, carefully lift the tank’s pressure-relief valve and turn on the tank’s spigot; water should begin to flow.
While most manufacturers recommend draining the tank once or twice a year, you don’t have to drain it completely; in fact, the Department of Energy recommends draining less water more often — just a quart every three months.
#4: Insulate Exposed Hot-Water Pipes
By insulating your hot water pipes, water will arrive at the faucet 2 to 4 degrees warmer, which means you won’t have to wait as long for it to heat up, thus saving energy, water, and money.
While this isn’t an expensive DIY job — 6-ft.-long, self-sealing sleeves ($2.50) easily slip over pipes — it could take effort, depending on where your hot water pipes are located. Exposed pipes in the basement are easy targets: Hard-to-reach pipes in crawl spaces or walls might not be worth the trouble.
#5 Insulate Your Hot Water Tank
If you have an older tank, and especially if it’s located in an unheated space, wrapping it with an insulating blanket is a cheap and easy way to reduce costs. Manufacturers have figured this out, so most new models already are insulated. It’s easy to find out which one you have. Look on its label to see if it has an R-value of at least 24. If not, you should insulate your tank.
With these older models, an insulating blanket can cut heat loss by 25% to 45% and save 4% to 9% on the average water-heating bill. Insulating blankets are easy to install and inexpensive ($20). When dressing your tank for saving energy, be careful not to block the thermostat on an electric water heater or the air inlet and exhaust on a gas unit.
If you have a newer model that’s already insulated, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can get additional savings by adding a layer of insulation. It can block critical components and become hazardous. Check with your manufacturer.
For more water heater energy saving tips click here.